Wednesday, October 18, 2023


SuttreeSuttree by Cormac McCarthy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This prefigures everything, I suppose. The Road. That the entirety of Western Civ leads to a new sort of void, from which life must rise again. Suttree falls from economic Grace, though I couldn't really follow the narrative, requiring the sanctioned one written all over the place. I was too distracted by the words made new and fresh against the putrefaction thereby descried.

This beats Faulkner, whose writings were bequeathed to me by occult ways having nothing very much to do with words. Bequeathed by Granddaddy who gloried, so he did tell me, riding the rails under the cars when still not far from hillbilly roots. But then I find lately that my highschool buddies did that too, making their way to and from a Catholic highschool from which interest I was barred by cause of faith. Not mine.

I was such a good boy, wanting to be like Granddaddy, an engineer. Spoiled by the despoiling I witnessed in my youth along Lake Erie's rotting shores where war machines for Vietnam were proofed. My uncle waggling the wings of his 'flying boxcar' whenever he overflew our beachhead. Hovercraft at dusk to foil the spies for the Mekong, where the atavist Sturgeons were far larger than ours.

Now we hover among the idiot winds of Artificial Intelligence, as though it weren't already the end for that deadly process. Reading Cormac (one name is enough, no?) gives the eternal lie to that as a definition for what humanity is about. Sure, our intelligence has become artifice by way of renting out our thinking for the sake of a dime, Buddy, for the sake of a dime.

Cleanth Brooks helped me to recover my ability to read by way of Faulkner. Now I discover so very lately, even his better. I'd better go back and try to finish Joyce again and The Recognitions, impossible again at my age. I'm glad it won't matter.

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